Given the pitch of international political gossip lately – surrounding all things Trump – it’s small wonder that everything else pales by comparison. A fortiori anything I do in a day is assured to be virtually irrelevant and hardly worth mentioning. Yet only this afternoon as I vacantly reflected on these and other matters I marvelled at the outcome of my career which – though just short of an old man in a rocking chair staring at a meadow – has at least the gratification of unrepentant indolence. Nor does this diminish the attraction of my personal vista. It is an ever-changing plate of blue and green sea water, a white sandy beach tinged by a purple hue and an almost indiscernible shadowy line of barrier islands below a misty horizon. Above it large birds – likely the graceful but preposterous pelicans – wing across the sky. The sunsets are marvellous.
No matter where one is – and I can say this with some authority being one who has gazed across the Mediterranean and the Maddelana Islands to Corsica from a mountaintop villa in Sardinia – if one lingers long enough, eventually routine overtakes novelty and infects the colloquial. It effectively contaminants the initial gusto. It is after all our nature to submit to convention and to insinuate once again the lower orders of experience where the real weight of living is unburdened. Not only are certain habits necessary, they also preserve stability and remind us that life though exquisite is in good measure unavoidably mundane. Today for example I decided to purge the bed clothes and the bathroom towel, face cloth, hand towel and bath mat. It would ensure a fresh start for my day tomorrow – a day when I had arranged a rendezvous with my hair stylist, manicurist and pedicurist, my own style of vengeance upon creeping age. The order of the household catharsis is irrelevant – except to say that it was methodical, designed to mesh with the equally regimented ceremony of breakfast.
By the time the washer and the dryer had completed their respective cycles – and my breakfast enactment was fulfilled – I remade the bed and happily restored the clean cotton bathroom items to their respective places of ornament. We were then set to head to the beach for our daily bicycle ride. Knowing that there was a north wind we initially avoided the beach and chose instead to ride to Coligny Park along the mainland paths sheltered by the Sea Pines, Live Oak and Palmetto ferns. After a brief pause at Coligny Park (during which we amused ourselves to regard the parade of tourists laden with beach chairs, coolers, dogs and children) we then sailed back on the beach with the wind at our backs and the sun in our faces. The low tide had been around noon and it was then about two-thirty as we returned home. The water was coming up quickly. But we managed to make it to Tower Beach before exiting the dreamy afternoon heat and crashing Ocean noise. The sand was fine and moderately abraded by the wind.
My late afternoon custom is an hour by the pool which today is all the time I could withstand. The rays were intense. The blue sky was almost white with heat. Upon returning to the condominium we opted to take the car for a drive and to collect a few groceries along the way. I also wanted to wash the car. The galloping pollen leaves its daily film. Because the automatic car wash was closed I used the self-serve hose instead and succeeded to drench my Topsiders. Afterwards I applied Turtle Wax solvent to remove residual pine pitch from various places on the car. The ritual was now complete.
The real treat on this deliciously inconsequential day was sitting on the balcony after dinner, watching the Ocean, the beach and the sky. From time to time people could be seen in the distance, stick-like figures walking or sometimes transfixed, looking in silence out to sea. The low angle of the sun and its diminished brilliance rendered a clouded shimmer of all that I could see. The indefinite clouds were painted on a pastel canvass. Imperceptibly the waning light gave way to ever-deepening sapphire shades and out of nowhere at sea glittering lights materialized.